WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Congress is on summer recess but a group of Democratic lawmakers were in Washington Tuesday demanding that the Senate follow through on recent promises to expand background checks for gun buyers.
The House has already passed a bill that would make federal background checks mandatory for the sale or transfer of almost every firearm, closing a loophole that allowed private gun sales to go unchecked.
The Senate has so far refused to take up the bill, or any gun legislation for that matter, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump say following the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, the Senate might, after all, consider the House bill.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers and those personally impacted by gun violence demanded action.
“I’m here today to represent all the young people all across America who have had their lives ripped apart by gun violence,” Jaxon O’Mara said.
O’Mara, the director of March for Our Lives Maryland, said her community was changed forever by a 2018 shooting at Great Mills High School.
“Jaylen Willey was a light in our community,” O’Mara said. “Her family is really incredible. On March 20, a student entered our school with his father’s Glock and fatally shot her.”
That tragedy and the recent mass violence in El Paso and Dayton inspired O’Mara to speak out and put a face to the names of victims to gun violence.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Maryland Congressman Anthony Brown said it’s time for McConnell to allow a Senate vote on the background check bill already passed by the House.
“The time is not for a moment of silence. The time for the Senate is to act,” Hoyer said. “It takes no courage to put on the Senate floor a bill that supported a by 90-plus percent of Americans.”
“He won’t even bring up a bipartisan solution that we have passed in this House more than 165 days ago,” Brown added.
Trump has signaled his support for background check legislation but the path to getting a bill passed remains unclear.
“I am convinced that Mitch wants to do something,” Trump said. “I’ve spoken with Mitch McConnell. I don’t know, frankly, that the Democrats will get us there.”
Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell says it’s time to put partisan bickering aside.
“We need more people coming together not going in their corners taking the same old positions,” she said.
McConnell has said no action will be taken until after the Senate returns next month.